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Future of retail lies in clicks, not bricks

By Tiffany Tan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-10-21 07:07:46

Future of retail lies in clicks, not bricks

Yoox.com: Yoox Group launched the Chinese e-commerce sites of seven fashion brands, including Armani, in 2010. Over the next two years, the company opened the Chinese versions of thecorner.com and yoox.com. Photos Provided to China Daily

But in other areas, the company is turning international practices local. It offers Chinese customers a "butler service", which allows them to try on purchases while a courier waits for 10 minutes to see if the person wishes to return any items.

The Outnet, run by the same group behind the online fashion retailers Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter, last year unveiled its Chinese website - its first non-English site. And among its three international teams of buyers, which watch out for market trends and demands, one is based in Shanghai; the others are in New York and London.

The company, which has headquarters in England, isn't surprised e-commerce has grown so quickly in a country of China's size.

The Internet "provides amazing access", Stephanie Phair, The Outnet's global managing director, says by e-mail. "Women living in second- or third-tier cities can access great fashion just like those living in Shanghai or Beijing."

Shopbop, a fashion retailer owned by Amazon.com, introduced its Chinese site in 2011. On it, the company has maintained its English website's layout, general product offerings, as well as prices - when imported goods are normally more expensive in China due to the country's tax regulations.

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